What You’ll Need
- Famicom Disk System
- FDSLoader PC to Disk Drive Cable
- PC w/ Parallel Port Running DOS
- FDSLoader DOS Software
- FDS Disk(s) You Wish to Dump
- Blank FDS 64KB & 128KB Images
- Download the FDSLoader program. Create a folder for this program to be placed. A good place would be in your C:\ drive in a folder called FDS. The shorter the file path, the quicker it will be to access the program through DOS.
- Place your .fds blank images in the same folder as the FDSLoader program, since this is where the program will look for them without more complicated DOS commands. Images must have a valid 16-byte header for FDSLoader to open them successfully. You can test the .fds images in an emulator. Right click on each image and select Properties to make sure “archive” and “read-only” are unchecked. It’s also a good idea to name the images in 8.3 format so it’s easier to load them with FDSLoader (e.g., mariotwo.fds).Here’s an example of how the folder would look if your FDS images and FDSLoader program are saved at: C:\FDS. In this example, please note the two blank images, blank64.fds & blank128.fds.
- Ensure your PC’s parallel port is set to EPP and IRQ 7. This setting can be changed in the BIOS, which can be accessed during boot-up in the Setup menu.
Disk Dumping Steps
Connect the FDSLoader Disk Drive Dumping cable to the parallel port on your PC and to your FDS drive. Connect the 5V power to your cable, which, depending on the way your cable is built, could be through the USB port or an external power supply. Boot your PC into DOS.
Prepare your blank images. You can either do this in the Windows folder, or this can be done in DOS.
To prepare the blank in the Windows folder, simply copy, paste & re-name the file.
To prepare the blank in DOS, browse to the directory that your FDSLoader & FDS blank images are located.
Once in the correct directory, make a copy of the blank image. If you are copying Super Mario Bros., just type:
COPY BLANK64.FDS MARIO.FDS
DOS makes a copy of the blank named MARIO.FDS in that directory.
Load your re-named blank into the FDSLoader program. To do this, make sure DOS is currently in the same folder as FDSLoader and the blank images.
If the prepared blank image you wish to dump to is called MARIO.FDS, type: FDSLOADR MARIO.FDS and hit the ENTER key.
FDSLoader will start.
Insert the FDS disk you wish to dump and you’ll see the red block bar start to fill up horizontally in FDSLoader. If you see any X‘s on the blocks instead of full red bars, you should try to re-read the disk until all X‘s are gone. To do this, either hit the SPACEBAR or manually eject and re-insert the disk for FDSLoader to re-read it.
Disk Read with Errors
Disk Read Successfully
Save the dumped image to the blank. Once the disk is successfully read with all X‘s gone and replaced by red bars, hit the SPACEBAR to eject the disk and F4 to exit and save the dump to the image.
If you are dumping a disk with more than one side, re-load the image in FDSLoader and hit 2 to go to side B. Insert Side B of the disk and begin the reading process. Once Side B of the disk is successfully read with all X‘s gone and replaced by red bars, hit the SPACEBAR to eject the disk and F4 to exit and save the dump to the image.
Test your dumped image. Exit DOS and connect the FDSLoader RAM Adapter cable. Load your newly-dumped image into FDSLoader and test it to ensure your dump works okay. You may also test the image in an emulator.
Current disk dumping methods, including FDSLoader, result in dumps that are missing 2 bytes of GAP data and 2 bytes of crc16 checksum data. However, the disk dumps will still work for rewriting and emulation. If your disk isn’t reading successfully, try copying it with a copy program and then read the copied disk.